Clarkies clean up coastlines


While most Santa Monica beach goers relaxed under the warm sun on Sept 21, junior Victoria Andal scoured the grainy sand and sorted out a mound of over 100 cigarette butts. Andal, along with 25 other Clark students, participated in Coastal Cleanup Day, a global effort to preserve oceans and marine life with the beautification of local beaches. Whether motivated by environmental awareness or extra credit opportunities offered in their scientific research class, students went to beaches such as Santa Monica and Dockweiler to carefully inspect the sand and water for debris.

Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental group, organized the cleanup at Santa Monica. The staff distributed gloves and trash bags, educated participants, and encouraged volunteers to find as much trash as possible. They also asked participants to keep a count of the different types of discovered objects. “The weirdest things we found were Q-tips and a Coke bottle that was buried deep in the sand,” Andal said.

While Andal worked diligently with her classmates, junior Brittany Huynh was grouped with strangers. “It was a great experience because I got to meet different people just by attending an event where everyone shared a common goal,” Huynh said. “My group started talking about how we each effect the environment through our everyday lives.”

The restoration of beaches does not only aim to prevent the global ocean problems, but also to benefit the community. “People coming to our beaches are a huge part of our local economy,” Tara Treiber, Heal the Bay’s educational director, said. “Do people want to come from all over the world to sit on dirty beach, or would they rather sit on a pristine, clean beach?”

As students waited in line to receive their community service forms after their hard work, Treiber continued to advocate environmental awareness. She encouraged students to do their part in keeping the environment clean through actions at their school such as picking up trash in the cafeteria.

After four hours of dedication to bettering the environment, many volunteers went home feeling inspired. “The coastal cleanup opened my eyes to see the dangers of trash and the harm it brings to innocent animals,” junior Mariel Lansangan said.“The experience made me want to clean not only the beach, but other areas around the community.”